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We tested the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen: an exquisite motorcycle for the A2 license that prioritizes design over comfort
We tested the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen: an exquisite motorcycle for the A2 license that prioritizes design over comfort

There are unattractive motorcycles, there are normal motorcycles, there are beautiful motorcycles and then there are others that are conceived more as design products than as engines. The Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen It goes beyond being a mere transportation solution, it is a motorcycle that has been sculpted to attract the attention of those who look beyond the surface lines.

With a neo-retro, minimalist and Nordic style combined with a well-known mechanical and cycle part base, the 701 Svartpilen is one of those bikes that it is difficult not to. We have tried it, we liked it and we are going to tell you why its weak points are forgiven. Because it does.

Husqvarna Svartpilen 701: all design

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The main argument of the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen it is undoubtedly its design. It must be recognized that it is not a motorcycle that stands out for its technology, nor for its safety measures, nor for its mechanics, but rather that it orbits around an exquisite design and cared for almost to the extreme to make it one of our favorite motorcycles. At least on paper, but we are not going to spoil that we will talk about these issues later.

Extremely attractive. One glance is enough to see that the 701 Svartpilen is a motorcycle that is out of the ordinary. Since its presentation as a prototype in 2017, when it was presented as a prototype derived from the 701 Vitpilen, it left us with a very good taste in the mouth. It looked like a motorcycle with a different, fresh and suggestive proposal. In person he does not disappoint. Not at all.

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In fact, the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen in person surprises because it is even smaller than it appears in photos. Something that your minimalist design. And precisely about its design is what we are going to talk about now, because it has a lot of fabric to cut, along with its history.

The Husqvarna story begins in 1689 as a manufacturer of rifles for the Swedish army, but that does not interest us too much. Like many other motorcycle brands, it began manufacturing bicycles later, to produce its first motorized model in 1903, with its first own engine assembled in 1920.

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From the beginning, Husqvarna's link with the offroad world has been more than palpable, becoming a world power in the second half of the 20th century with 14 motocross world championships and 24 enduro world championships in the 1960s and 1960s. 70. In 1987 the Husqvarna motorcycle brand was sold to Cagiva (MV Agusta Group), harvesting supermoto world championships in 2005 and 2008.

But the Husqvarna story doesn't end there, far from it. Following the financial uncertainty within the Italian house, Husqvarna passed into the hands of BMW in 2007 on an adventure without much sense. The Germans wanted to enter the offroad segment with their 2008 BMW G 450 Xs and give Husqvarna the opportunity to enter the world of street bikes with the daring 2012 Husqvarna Nuda 900, based on the BMW F 800 R.

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BMW quickly lost interest in this alliance and AG Industries took control of the firm. Yes, KTM acquired Husqvarna and made it its subsidiary, sharing technology, mechanics and, above all, prestigious with the Swedish firm Kiska design studio in charge of the spectacular KTM designs.

All this journey helps us to explain why Husqvarna has presented the 701 Svartpilen, since it is undoubtedly a return to the origins of the brand, recovering the aesthetic essence of offroad models and pairing it with the nordic design. All on a known mechanical basis and more than amortized.

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The result is a compact motorcycle where almost all the visual weight falls on a tank sculpted with smooth lines in its central part and cut with a machete on the sides. A tank that is subtly joined to the subframe through a minimum seat, topped by a passenger seat that simulates a small spoiler on its tail.

The rear is undoubtedly the most interesting thing about this bike with the well integrated LED light and a superb right side, equipped with a number plate and a beveled exhaust and raised exit perfectly integrated into the design. As a detail, 701 is almost ubiquitous: tank, rear plate, wheel arch … it's everywhere. The finishes by the way are excellent and the full LED lighting gives it a plus of modernity. The round mirrors are quite ugly and out of tune with the whole.

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The finishing touch is the spoked wheels with black rings that look great on this model, the license plate holder anchored to the swingarm and a meticulous paint job. On the other hand, we did not like the dashboard, unnecessarily large for such a subtle design. It looks like a diving suit. It is very simple, with a digital sphere well full of information but with quite small elements and its controls are made with some uncomfortable buttons on its side.

If we sit at its controls to tinker quickly we realize that it is a motorcycle that feels very, very small. Its central part is extremely narrow and thanks to this, although the seat is positioned at 835 mm high, it reaches well with both feet to the ground with 170 cm of height.

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With 161 kg in running order and an empty tank, it is a motorcycle that moves very well when standing still. Is a good bike for those looking for something different but do not want the typical motorcycle of the A2 license. In fact Husqvarna sells it as a motorcycle for those design lovers who seek differentiation; and boy does he get it.

But it is time to start the Swede. We press the button for the right pineapple (some pineapple that are quite simple, by the way, but with good settings) and the engine starts up with a considerable presence. It is not for less, it's a big monkey.

Fun in the Swedish-Austrian way

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The heart of this Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen is an old acquaintance. It is a single-cylinder four-stroke that touches 700 cubic centimeters (693 cm³ specifically), direct heir to KTM's LC4 engine that drove the single cylinder of the Austrian brand and adapted to the new times.

During the first few meters we already realize that the 701 Svartpilen is a motorcycle that is out of the ordinary. While most brands follow the same path towards harmlessness, Husqvarna gets much of the character found in KTMs. And that has its good things and its bad things at the same time, depending on the prism from which you look at it.

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Running the engine configuration results in an assembly that transmits. The propeller is felt, it has a lot of torque, it is not particularly docile and at low revs it can hit some kick, in addition, it vibrates a lot. I don't know about you, but I like it. He has a genius, he talks to you, he replies. Today, these types of engines are almost non-existent in the market and they have it very difficult for the Euro5. In fact, this Svartpilen 701 is still a Euro4, so it is likely that it will soon be discontinued.

Regarding their figures, with 73 hp and 74 Nm of torqueIt is a motorcycle that has power to spare. His thrust is quite linear with a certain tendency to show an additional kick in the upper-middle zone, although he does not like to turn too much up, where he loses steam.

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Its delivery together with the lightness of the set make it a very, very entertaining motorcycle. It is easy for the front wheel to lose contact with the asphalt at the exit of the curves, and it will be difficult to find moments in which we miss a greater power. It is one of those motorcycles that can be driven with the full open gas in twisty sections finding the right power.

It is equipped as standard with traction control (can be switched off) and semiautomatic gearbox, which give it extra safety and effectiveness. What there is not is regulation of traction control and it behaves quite restrictively as soon as the front wheel is lightened. A little more permissiveness would be nice, but they have chosen to keep electronic equipment to a minimum.

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The good thing about this model is that the chassis also accompanies the engine. What's more, the chrome-moly steel multitubular frame to which the single cylinder is attached derives also from KTMs with this configuration, such as the KTM 690 Duke. It is a fairly rigid frame, but accompanied by well-designed suspensions for the type of bike it is.

In the front end we have a inverted fork with 43mm bars and in the rear axle a monoshock with connecting rods. Both are WP APEX and are adjustable, although to tell the truth, the standard they offer seemed the most successful.

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With 150mm of travel on both trains, the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen handles like a lot of fun. The settings are soft in the first section of the route so they offer us a lot of comfort on curly asphalt, but they gradually harden to show the right consistency.

He moves, yes, but in a controlled way and allowing himself to be carried from one place to another with ease without question. Yes we found the shock absorber a bit dry from reactions. The set works great on twisty roads, It is fun, perhaps one of the best resolved at a dynamic level with a clear laid-back and hooligan approach. However, despite its scrambler / flat tracker aesthetic, it is not a motorcycle suitable for use off the asphalt.

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As standard, it is equipped with Pirelli MT60 RS tires with a knobby pattern that go like a glove to the general design and specifically to the spoke rims. They are not 100% road tires, much less sports tires, but they suit the design of the bike very well, working well on asphalt.

In a world where over-equipment seems the norm, Husqvarna has decided to keep a simple brake kit. The front axle equips only one 320 mm disc bitten by a four-piston radial caliper; behind the disc is 240 mm. Of course, the material is top-quality Brembo / Magura, with a lot of bite and good dosage.

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It does not need more, because it does not falter under intensive use either. What did not quite convince us is the intrusion of the ABS Bosch 9.1MP. Although it is a piece of equipment that has proven to be very successful in other models, on this bike it is too intrusive on the rear axle, not so on the front. The good thing is that it is disconnectable.

Ergonomics are not particularly good on the highway and on wide stretches of roads. It is a motorcycle so compact in its central part that the knees are very exposed; We did not get to integrate with the bike because we would have to close our legs a lot to hug the tank. The aerodynamic protection is null (logical) and the seat is a bit like cigarette paper - thin and hard. Nor do very noticeable vibrations help comfort, especially in the rear-view mirrors.

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The passenger it is also not in a particularly comfortable position. Its seat is also soft and hard, although somewhat more generous than that of the pilot, but what it does not have is a decent place to hold on unless you put your hands on the headlight, and leaning on a tank that is so low is impossible.

The price of personality

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Another point that will prevent us from making long runs is its autonomy. When designers are given more power than engineers, things happen like the fuel tank remains at a very meager 11.2 liters of capacity. Consumption is quite bare with 4.4 liters per 100 km, but traveling just 140 km and the reserve light will turn on. Of course, refueling is frugal.

The price of the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen is 9,999 euros. Touching 10,000 euros for a motorcycle of its characteristics seems excessive. In its favor, there is no similar competition in the market because all similar motorcycles in terms of style or power are notably inferior in terms of overall quality and finishes. Besides, the design is paid, and the 701 Svartpilen is almost more of a sculpture than a motorcycle.

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Overall, the Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen has seemed like a very, very interesting bike. One of those motorcycles that we would love to have in our garage because it is a very enjoyable proposal. Yes, it has points to criticize, but others where it especially shines. That is why it is such an attractive motorcycle. In addition, the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 is suitable for the A2 license. It can be limited to 47 CV for those who have the current limitation.

Motorcycles are after all a passionate decision, and in this case Husqvarna has put on the table a model that will win you over if you are one of those who like motorcycles with a lot of personality. Because he personality is difficult to find bikes that beat this Swede.

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Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen 2020 - Rating


Motor6 Vibrations6 Change7 Stability7 Agility9 Front suspension7 Rear suspension6 Front brake7 Back brake6 Pilot comfort6 Passenger comfort5 Consumption4 Finishes8 Esthetic9

In favor

  • Exquisite design
  • Ease of driving
  • Fun to rage
  • It is a different motorcycle


  • High price
  • Very noticeable vibrations
  • Unkind to the passenger
  • Minimum autonomy
  • Husqvarna 701 Svartpilen 2020 - Technical sheet

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